California governor signs smartphone kill switch bill into law

By Cody Lee on Aug 25, 2014

A bill that requires all smartphones manufactured after July 1st of next year, and sold in California, to include a remote kill switch was signed into law this afternoon. Introduced in February of this year, the bill hopes to make mobile devices less attractive to criminals, as smartphone thefts have grown exponentially in recent years, in several major US cities.

Specifically, the new law requires that each handset prompt an authorized user during initial setup to enable a “technological solution” that, once initiated, can render the essential features of the device inoperable to an unauthorized user. The solution must be reversible, must be able to withstand a hard reset, and may consist of software, hardware, or both. Read More

 

California smartphone ‘kill switch’ bill passes state legislature

By Cody Lee on Aug 11, 2014

Earlier this year, California Senator Mark Leno introduced a new bill that would require cellphone makers to install ‘kill switches’ in all of their handsets, rendering them inoperable when stolen. The move comes as smartphone thefts continue to rise in major US cities.

Unsurprisingly, Leno’s bill won Senate approval by a vote of 27-8 today, meaning that it’s just one step away from becoming law in the state of California. All it needs now is Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, and device manufacturers will have essentially a year to comply… Read More

 

Senate passes cellphone unlocking bill

By Cody Lee on Jul 16, 2014

The Senate has passed a bill legalizing cellphone unlocking this week. The unanimous decision to pass the legislation, which was penned by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, came last night, and it will now move to the House and onto President Obama.

The bill reinstates a 2010 ruling by the Librarian of Congress so that consumers can ‘unlock’ their cell phones without worrying about copyright laws. It also directs Congress to consider whether other wireless devices, such as tablets, should be eligible for unlocking… Read More

 

US House passes bill that makes unlocking your phone legal

By Cody Lee on Feb 26, 2014

Reuters is reporting that the US House has passed a bill that would allow mobile phone users to unlock their devices and use them on competitors’ wireless networks without repercussions, making the once ‘gray-area’ practice completely legal.

Before you get too excited, however, there are a few big asterisks. First, for the bill to be written into law it must also be approved by the Senate, which could take years or never happen. And two, the bill contains an exclusion for ‘bulk unlocking.’ Read More

 

EU lawmakers drafting legislation that could force Apple to change its Lightning plug

By Cody Lee on Dec 20, 2013

EU lawmakers agreed yesterday to draft legislation that will force all mobile phone manufacturers to consent to the use of a common standard for battery chargers which can fit any device. The draft could be voted on by the EU Parliament as early as March 2014.

While many see this as a huge win for consumers, who would no longer have to purchase new charging accessories for different devices, it would be a huge blow to Apple. The company uses a propriety plug, the Lightning connector, in all of its iOS product lines… Read More

 

New bill introduced that legalizes cellphone unlocking and more

By Cody Lee on May 10, 2013

Back in January, the mobile homebrew community suffered a major blow when several DMCA exemptions expired. Among them was a rule that made unlocking cellphones legal, effectively making the practice illegal here in the United States.

But it may not be that way for long. A new bill just landed in the House of Representatives called The Unlocking Technology Act of 2013, which, among other things, would make the process of unlocking your cellphone unequivocally legal… Read More

 

Petition to legalize cell phone unlocking will get response from White House

By Cody Lee on Feb 21, 2013

On January 26th of this year, the DMCA exemption that made unlocking your cell phone legal, expired, subsequently making the popular practice illegal. Now, folks who go about unlocking their handsets risk serious legal repercussions.

Obviously, people weren’t too happy with the way this played out, so an online petition was started to re-legalize unlocking. And as of today, that petition has surpassed 100,000 signatures, meaning the White House must issue a response… Read More

 

US authorities can access your iCloud data without a warrant

By Cody Lee on Jan 30, 2013

Cloud computing has really taken off in recent years as a cheap, flexible way for folks to store their documents and data. Apple’s iCloud service, for example, has garnered more than 250 million users in just a little over a year.

But while we’re all busy uploading our lives to the cloud, it’s worth mentioning that it’s not totally secure from prying eyes. A recently renewed Surveillance Act gives US authorities permission to access your data without a warrant… Read More

 

White House petition goes up to make unlocking phones legal again

By Cody Lee on Jan 29, 2013

By now, you’ve likely heard of the recent change in DMCA policy that makes the act of unlocking newer cell phones illegal. And even though the EFF clarified some things for us earlier today, it still sounds like we’re getting screwed.

In fact, some folks feel so strongly about the new law that they’ve started a White House petition calling for the Obama administration to either rescind the decision, or create a new bill making unlocking permanently legal… Read More

 

Unlocking your phone could cost you up to $500,000

By Cody Lee on Jan 28, 2013

Last week, we reported that unlocking your cell phone was going to become illegal in the US on January 26th. And it did. While there are some exceptions to the law— you can still unlock pre-2013 phones—it’s still devastating for cell phone owners.

And it gets worse. According to a new report, the penalty for breaking this new unlocking law is a fine of up to $500,000, 5 years in jail, or both. That’s right, half a million dollars for unlocking your phone. And yes, that includes first-time offenders… Read More

 

Apple and Samsung bosses meeting on May 21-22 to talk patents

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 29, 2012

As previously hinted, top dogs at Apple and Samsung will meet next month to discuss a possible settlement to the ongoing patent war which has seen minor casualties on both sides, but has otherwise failed to produce an outright winner. A new report claims the upcoming mediation will take place on May 21 and May 22, starting on each day at 9:30am.

The court-moderated settlement talk is to seek an alternative dispute resolution to the more than fifty lawsuits the two technology giants have filed against each other in little more than a year in courts the world over… Read More

 

iCloud boss Eddy Cue: Uncle Sam is lost in agency model

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 23, 2012

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ), which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers for alleged price fixing of electronic books sold on the iBookstore, is painfully lost in the intricacies of the so-called agency model exercised on the iBookstore, says Apple’s Eddy Cue.

Unlike Amazon which gets to dictate prices, often at the expense of publishers, Apple lets publishers set their own price tags on the iTunes store, opting instead to take its standard 30 percent cut.

Somehow, the government alleges such a practice, which has been widely accepted on iTunes since the dawn of time, is the product of a conspiracy.

Now, Apple had to dispatch its online services boss to set the record straight, saying the government doesn’t have a clue… Read More

 

Confident about its case, Apple wants trial on eBook price fixing allegations

By Sébastien Page on Apr 18, 2012

Confident that the US Department of Justice’s allegations that Apple sat down with book publishers to agree on eBooks prices are weak, the company wants to go to trial to defend itself, a lawyer for the company said today.

According to antitrust experts, the DoJ, which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five other publishers last week has a weak case, and this probably explains why Apple is feeling so strong about the situation… Read More

 

Woz on patent war fallout, Tim Cook, post-PC world, tight Apple ecosystem

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2012

Steve Wozniak, who with his friend Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer on April 1, 1976 , always has interesting things to say about his company, competition and the technology industry at large. In an interview yesterday, the outspoken gadget lover expressed concern over patent wars.

He argued that patent-related litigation often blocks off start-ups and young thinkers because big boys make sure they own it all.

He also isn’t convinced that we’ll stop using computers in the post-PC world and said it’s too early to judge Tim Cook as Steve Jobs has stamped his mark on products that are three years in the queue… Read More

 

Apple called back to Congress to discuss privacy concerns

By Jake Smith on Mar 14, 2012

The United States Congress is set to give Apple another look. AllThingsD reports that Congress has sent a letter to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook requesting he sends a company representative to the Capitol to brief Congress on how Apple is protecting its users personal information on mobile devices.

While Apple was called to congress in February, this time around it’s about the issue of apps being able to view customers’ photos, location data, and more without their permission… Read More

 

Department of Justice approves Apple’s acquisition of Nortel patents

By Jake Smith on Mar 12, 2012

The US Department of Justice has just approved the sale of Nortel patents to the group Rockstar Consortium, which is an alliance made up of Apple, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Ericsson and Sony. The acquisition is priced at roughly $4.5 billion and will give the group 4,000 patents, reports The Next Web.

The patents are vital, and cover areas like 4G, network, voice, and more… Read More

 

Apple forced to stop suing Kodak over patents

By Jake Smith on Mar 8, 2012

In January, 131 year old camera company Kodak filed a lawsuit against Apple for violating four patents. Fast forward a month later, Apple went after the already bankrupt Kodak in court, counter suing the company. Apple claimed that Kodak actually stole the patents in question from Apple.

Today, the WSJ reports a New York judge has ordered Apple to stop filing lawsuits against Kodak. Kodak is failing as a company and is currently bankrupt…  Read More

 

Apple responds to ABC’s iFactory documentary

By Jake Smith on Feb 22, 2012

In a special edition of ABC’s Nightline program last night, correspondent Bill Weir traveled to Apple’s main manufacture, Foxconn, to get an inside look at working conditions inside of the plant. During the program, Weir showed workers working on the assembly line, the dormitories they live in, and more.

Apple, Foxconn, and the FLA have today released statements to ABC regarding a few of the things said during last night’s program. Apple responded to a claim one worker made, after she said that she carves the aluminum shavings from 6,000 iPad logos per day… Read More

 

Apple agrees to new standards requiring developers to share their app’s privacy policy

By Jake Smith on Feb 22, 2012

Apple and five other companies agreed today to new standards for showing users the privacy policies associated with apps offered in their app stores. The new agreement will improve privacy protection for customers around the world.

Spotted by MacRumors, California’s Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the news in a press release, today… Read More

 

Workers claim Foxconn hid underage workers before FLA inspection

By Cody Lee on Feb 22, 2012

After facing criticism from both the media and human rights organizations, Apple has opened up the doors to its manufacturing plants for the world to see. This has allowed the Fair Labor Association in to do an inspection, and ABC to do a report.

If you haven’t seen ABC’s “A Trip to the iFactory” yet, you should really watch it. The documentary actually doesn’t make Foxconn, Apple’s largest manufacturing partner, look as bad as the media has made them out to be. But were they hiding anything? Read More

 
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